PESHAWAR: Approximately 10,000 members of the Sikh community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are deprived of fundamental necessities such as education and health..
Brimming with gurdwaras from before partition, the Peshawar’s Sikh community can currently use only two worship places.
“Plazas have been constructed in place of some gurdwaras. The ones not sold have been taken over by the land grabbing mafia,” alleged Pakistan Sikh community Chairman Radesh Singh Tony.
“The community does not have a shamshan ghat (cremation ground) to perform the last rites of the dead,” he added. Instead, the community has to make cremation arrangements in Attock in case of a death, which costs around Rs 65,000 per person.
Members of the Sikh community had to move to Peshawar’s Muhalla Jogan Shah and Saddar Bazaar localities after the law and order situation posed threats to their security. Children were pulled out of schools due to safety concerns.
“We are renting property to create makeshift schools. It is difficult to bear the expenses. We request the government to provide us with a building and funds for education,” said school headmaster Baba Jugerpaal Singh.
Despite the tough living conditions, the Sikh community remains fairly positive that its issues will be resolved by the government. “The prime minister is taking a lot of interest in resolving minority issues. Recently Pakistan has passed a bill against forced conversion,” MNA Asfan Yar Bhandara said during his visit to a gurdwara.